Portugal won the Volleyball Challenger Cup to reach the Volleyball Nations League
Lausanne, Switzerland, February 13, 2019 – Portugal’s men’s FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL) debut has brought back happy memories of when the men’s national team took their first steps among volleyball’s world elite.
This year Portugal’s men will make their VNL debut having earned entry by winning the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup. They will take on hosts Argentina, Canada and Bulgaria in the first week of competition, then in week three Portugal’s fans will be able to watch their heroes in the flesh when they host Brazil, China and Serbia.
Twenty years ago there was similar excitement in Portuguese volleyball with the men’s team about to make their debut in the FIVB World League, the predecessor competition to the VNL.
“I'm thrilled with the return of our national team to the biggest stage,” Carlos Teixeira, the Libero in the 1999 team said. “I've already booked in the dates of the matches we host so that I can attend. It is essential that we are tested against the best in the world and our presence in this competition allows exactly that.”
The impetus for Portugal’s World League debut came at the Istanbul 1993 FIVB Volleyball U17 World Championship where the team finished fourth. Many of that team then progressed on to help Portugal reach the World League where they became a regular presence and in 2010 they showed how much they had learned in 11 years by winning the 2010 CEV European League.
Teixeira, the opposite Adriano Paço and the setter Pedro Azenha were three of the stars who progressed from the U17s to the full national team and all three remain involved in sport and volleyball to this day.
“I was 17 years old and I had the opportunity to play a World Championship,” Texeira said. “It was a magical moment, although we lost in the semifinal against Brazil, who had Giba (Gilberto Amauri de Godoy Filho) and then we lost to South Korea in the bronze medal match.”